Lenovo Yoga Book | Review
Something between a Convertible laptop and a Tablet is the new Lenovo Yoga Book which has a large touch surface ( Instead of a keyboard ) that recognizes pencil input through the paper – perfect for anyone who takes a lot of notes. In our test, we tried to use the Yoga Book instead of a real paper to take notes for almost 3 months.
Lenovo always dares to launch unusual products on the market at first sight: this time it is the Yoga Book presented at the IFA 2016 fair, a convertible without a classic keyboard. Instead, the device has a large touch area, which can also be used as a keyboard replacement, but above all, it allows for pencil input through the paper. Who draws a lot or who often makes handwritten notes can easily digitize their own content with this. This is particularly appealing to students, but not for artists, who would prefer devices with much more accuracy and more raw power ( such as Surface Book or Surface Studio ).
Even at the time of unpacking, we found the great advantage of a convertible without a physical keyboard: it can be very flat and easy to use. The yoga book is just 10 mm thick and weighs only 690 grams – perfect for the people who carries their laptops with them all the time. It is significantly lighter and slimmer than a classic convertible. The case is made of a magnesium and aluminum alloy, which is very well processed ( at least for this price tag ) and the silver limb hinge, which is also used with many other yoga devices, works flawlessly, but on top of that, it looks good.
In addition to the USB power supply, a magnetic block with 20 pages of [ real ] paper, which can be placed on the large touch surface of the Yoga Book and an input pen with various mines are also supplied. Depending on whether writing directly on the touch surface or on a piece of paper, a plastic lead or a ballpoint pen must be inserted into the pen. The change turns out to be very annoying, but later more. For the pen, Lenovo has unfortunately not thought of a bracket on the Convertible. We would be really happy if the pen could be attached magnetically to the device.
The 10.1-inch IPS display resolves with 1,920 x 1,200 pixels, which corresponds to a pixel density of 218 ppi. Individual pixels can not be seen at normal working distance, only those who are really close to the display can recognize them. With an average maximum brightness of 370 cd / m2, the screen is sufficiently bright, but it is usually visible when there is not too much light. In other words, we had hard times to use it under the sun light.
Lenovo has equipped the Yoga Book with two cameras: a 2 megapixel front camera for video chats and a main camera with 8 megapixels, which is placed at the top of the touch surface. The camera is obviously not as good as the cameras on our phones, or even as the cameras on the new iPads, but the question is whether you will use this device to take photos or not.
To connect the Convertible to a monitor or projector, a micro HDMI output is available. Otherwise, the yoga book has a headphone jack and a micro-USB port, which only supports the USB 2.0 connection. Moreover, the device comes with 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac and Bluetooth 4.1 support.
Inside the device, you will find an underpowered Intel Atom processor, whose four cores are clocked at 2.4 GHz. For most office applications, the Atom X5-Z8550 is good enough, but if you are interested in editing videos, then, the device will not be able to handle them.
SSD is the future, but Lenovo is not even using a HDD
After all, the Convertible has 4 GB of RAM, so the device even struggles when you have too much tabs opened in Edge or Chrome. The internal memory is 64 GB, from which the user can actually use 52 GB freely. The problem is that the device uses eMMC storage, which, unfortunately, is very slow. With 120 MB / s in sequential reading and only 33 MB / s in sequential writing, it is even a slower than an average HDD. While industry is moving towards fast storage options including SDDs, Lenovo is not even using a HDD. 3 years ago, such an act would be acceptable, but we are in 2017 ( although the device was introduced in the 2016 ), and the price range of SSDs dropped greatly.
The battery has a power of 32 Wh and can be fully charged in 3 hours. It then provides about 8 hours of usage.
In some cases, the Yoga Book is a great device: It is really cool to be able to write on paper and then, to see your handwriting on the screen. However, you should never forget that the accuracy of the pen detection is not really good.
With corresponding note-based apps like Microsoft’s OneNote, which also supports handwriting recognition, the written text snippets can be easily copied and searched. Anyone who has been looking for a specific piece of information from hundreds of pages of notes will appreciate this feature.
And if you just do not feel like handwriting stuff, you can make activate the keyboard by touching a button. Typing is particularly needed in our digital lives. Even though we are used to type on the digital keyboards on our phones, most of the people will don’t like its keyboard because the keys do not give any real feedback. Although the touch unit emits vibration feedback during contact, it can not be located on the surface. Above all, the feedback is very loud when the yoga book is on a table. When you are in a meeting and try to write something with its keyboard, it disturbs the other people by vibrating. Luckily, this can be disabled in the settings.
Compared to a screen keyboard, the yoga book’s solution is more comfortable thanks to the slightly roughened surface of the touch unit. The background lighting is also well implemented: it is bright, after all. Also, it is important to note that if you are going to write a lot, look at another device. It is like a punishment to write long articles on this device.
The touch surface is unfortunately scratch-sensitive: After about five weeks, there were many small scratches on it. If you do not always carry the yoga book in a protective cover and do not always control it when you close it, it does not matter if there is crumbs on the surface, small scratches will appear very quickly, but they do not affect the function though.
Beside the keyboard, the pen also started to annoy us very quickly, because for the writing on the paper and for drawing on the touch surface, different pen tips are needed and you have to change them constantly.
And above all, you must constantly make sure not to lose them. Neither in the pen nor on the tablet is there a place to put them. If you lose them, not only you will have to spend about $ 15 for three tips, but also to wait until you get them.
Apart from the annoying changes, the input with the pen is great. It is well-positioned and reliably recognized as Lenovo relies on the Wacom’s feel-IT technology. A total of 2,048 pressure stages are detected, which works without problems.
As mentioned above, Lenovo also provides a magnetic block that can be fixed to the touch surface. It is incomprehensible that it was not set to a classic DIN format. For example, DIN A5 sheets are too small and DIN A4 paper is much too large.
Android or Windows?
Lenovo sells the Yoga Book with Windows 10 or Android 6.0 as the operating system. For which variant one decides, is ultimately a question of the taste. The two variants do not differ in the power and the recharge times. And the most important Office applications and note and character apps are available for both of the operating systems.
To improve productivity, Lenovo’s Android launcher supports apps in window mode. This allows the browser to be opened in addition to a drawing program. This works well enough.
The Lenovo Yoga Book with 64 GB of memory and Android as operating system costs around $499 with Windows as an operating system, the price increases to $549. If you want the variant with LTE modem, you have to pay about $100 more.
Can you omit the physical keyboard for a convertible? Lenovo has trusted it and shown with the Yoga Book that it goes well. The device is very thin and light – perfect for the carrying around. But the keyboard is not as good as a real one. A keypad is displayed on the large touch surface of the device when the light is on. It works fine, but I would prefer physics keyboard.
This is why it is more appropriate to compose short texts simply by hand; The yoga book works very well. Just a little incomprehensible why Lenovo has not addressed the DIN standards in the paper block. If you really want to have the right paper, you have to buy this overpriced papers from Lenovo ( for $15 for 15 papers ).
In terms of the pen, Lenovo should improve it: If you want to write on a paper, but at the same time also want to mark things with the pen on the display, you have to change the tips. This is simply annoying, which is why Lenovo should find another solution.
There is little to complain about the performance – one should not expect a lot of paper from such a small convertible. Only the eMMC is simply too slow, which is especially noticeable when copying files. The battery is good.
Lenovo has successfully implemented a daring idea with the yoga book, bringing a convertible with interesting input methods onto the market. And here is also the crack point: Only anyone who really wants to write pencil notes and drawings digitally, should go to the yoga book. Particularly students will appreciate the device. Anyone else should buy a real tablet or a notebook with real keys, because for other usages, it makes you feel like you are using a prototype that has not been announced.